There are few things less comfortable as a Fantasy analyst than putting together a bust list. For one thing, it's inherently negative which isn't exactly fun. Also, for someone to be a bust that must be highly regarded by someone, and there's probably a good reason for that. You're either saying an elite athlete, or an aging great, or a future star isn't going to be as good as expected. No fun.
I want to put heavy emphasis on "as good as expected" because people take these bust lists to mean we think the players are simply bad. That's not the case at all. A majority of the guys below I'd happily draft at the right cost. It's just that their industry consensus ranking makes it unlikely I'll have that opportunity. And there is no better example of that than Saquon Barkley.
Barkley was a superstar in his rookie year, with 2,000 total yards and 15 scores. And he got off to a similar start in 2019, totaling 275 yards from scrimmage in his first two games of that season. But he hasn't been able to stay healthy since. And when he has been on the field, he hasn't been quite the same player, especially with Daniel Jones under center.
In nine complete games with Jones, Barkley has still averaged more than 109 yards per game, but his targets per game (6.1) have been about 20% below what he saw from Eli Manning and he's only scored five touchdowns in those nine games. Oddly enough, Barkley has also been a far less efficient rusher. In 20 games started by Manning, Barkley averaged 5.19 yards per carry. The average has fallen to 3.81 in games started by Jones.
It could just be that the Giants offensive line has been that much worse the past two seasons. The problem is, I'm not sure how much better we can expect it to be. At the very least, the addition of Kenny Golladay should help take some attention off Barkley. But if the Giants pursue a run-heavy approach with a below-average offensive line, we shouldn't expect Barkley's efficiency or target share to bounce back much.
Finally, we don't even know when Barkley will be 100%. The Giants added Devontae Booker in the offseason and there's been a lot of talk about easing Barkley in at the beginning of the year. Considering his consensus ranking is fourth overall and his efficiency and scoring are in question, any deviation from his past workhorse status is a major concern. We can live with four yards per carry and six yards per target if he's seeing 20-plus touches every week, but not if he's in a timeshare. Not in the first round.
None of this is to say that I hate Barkley, but I don't think all the information we have points towards taking him with a top-five pick. In fact, I wouldn't take him in the first round of a PPR league. Here are seven more players I think the industry is currently too high on:
KC Kansas City • #25
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
This one is a bit messy, as Edwards-Helaire appears to be a high-risk, high-reward pick. The Andy Reid running back narrative has taken a bit of a hit the past two years and at least part of that is because Patrick Mahomes doesn't throw the ball to his running backs as often as Reid's quarterbacks typically have. The other problem I have with Edwards-Helaire is that he was given a bunch of touches early in the year and then started losing touches to Le'Veon Bell and Darrel Williams. He struggled in the passing game and in short yardage, and Darrel Williams played more snaps than him in the playoffs. We elevated Edwards-Helaire last year because he was on the Chiefs, he wasn't an elite prospect and had no chance of being the top rookie pick before they took him. While there's a chance this offense carries him to a top-12 season, I worry there's more committee/bust risk than upside.
Chris Godwin WR
TB Tampa Bay • #14
Age: 25 • Experience: 5 yrs.
I really don't enjoy doing this, but it's hard to imagine how Chris Godwin or Mike Evans can live up to their consensus rankings with all the weapons this team has. If they do, Brady is going to smash all of the records. Godwin was only on pace for 978 yards in the seven full games he played with Evans and Antonio Brown and he had five or fewer catches in more than half of his games. He's an elite receiver, but it's really unlikely there's enough volume to support all these weapons, especially with Brady's propensity to dump the ball off to running backs.
Mike Evans WR
TB Tampa Bay • #13
Age: 27 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Everything I said above about Godwin applies to Evans, even more so. Evans needed an absurd touchdown rate (11.9%) to be as good as he was last year. Had he scored at his career rate he would have been a No. 3 receiver on a per-game basis. Touchdowns are not stable and no one has illustrated that better than Evans. He scored 12 as a rookie, three the next year, 12 again in his third year, and five the following year. Don't bet on Evans coming close to the 13 he scored last year.
Josh Allen QB
BUF Buffalo • #17
Age: 25 • Experience: 4 yrs.
Allen was phenomenal last year, but just like we said with Patrick Mahomes two years ago and Lamar Jackson last year, you should not bet on a repeat. He's unlikely to maintain the massive leap he made in efficiency, which makes him unlikely to finish as a top-two quarterback. While I do have him third, it's a logjam with him Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott, and Russell Wilson. He's currently being drafted at least one round ahead of all of them. Don't use an early fourth-round pick on Allen when you can find similar upside and floor in Round 6.
JAC Jacksonville • #30
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
This one just befuddles me. The Jaguars used a first-round pick on a running back who just happens to be a teammate of the quarterback they selected No. 1 overall. Robinson will start the year in a committee with Travis Etienne, but the expectation is that Etienne will get most, if not all, of the work in the passing game. It won't take long before he's getting more than that. This whole situation is completely unfair to Robinson, who was phenomenal last year, but that doesn't mean you should use an early Round 6 pick on him as ADP suggests.
CLE Cleveland • #13
Age: 28 • Experience: 8 yrs.
Odell Beckham has more than twice as many games below 30 receiving yards as he has above 100 yards since he joined the Cleveland Browns. He's also coming off yet another major surgery. This is a run-heavy offense that will not support a target hog and it's unclear whether Beckham still has the juice to demand that type of target share anyway. He doesn't have the upside or the floor to justify drafting him as a No. 3 receiver.
LAC L.A. Chargers • #10
Age: 23 • Experience: Rookie
This one is no fun at all but there are two reasons I don't believe Herbert can match what he did last year. First, his team ran an absurd number of offensive plays (1,127) and that volume, not good efficiency, contributed to his 4,336 passing yards. Second, Herbert should see significant regression from the five rushing touchdowns he scored (on just 55 attempts). I'm fine drafting him as a starting quarterback, but not until the top ten are off the board.
So which sleepers, breakouts and busts should you target and fade? And which QB shocks the NFL with a top-five performance? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy cheat sheets for every single position, all from the model that called Josh Allen's huge season, and find out.